Fiction in Translation
English edition  
May  2006
130 pp.
Paperback
12.5X20 cm
$14.95
LE100
ISBN 9789774249686
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Blue Aubergine

Miral al-Tahawy
Translated by Anthony Calderbank

New in paperback

Blue Aubergine tells the story of a young Egyptian woman, born in 1967, growing up in the wake of Egypt’s defeat of that year, and maturing into womanhood against the social and political upheavals Egypt experienced during the final decades of the twentieth century. Physically and emotionally scarred by her parents and the events of her childhood, and incapable of relating to men, Nada, the ‘Blue Aubergine,’ fumbles through a series of dark and unsettling adventures, resorting first to full Islamic dress with niqab and gloves and then throwing it all off for the flowing hair and tight clothes of an emancipated young graduate student, in an ever more desperate and ultimately failed search for tenderness and affection. A frank assessment of the damage society wreaks by foisting unwise claustrophobic values on its children, this richly woven text shifts unpredictably through time and space like a sojourn in dream time. A mixed crowd of aunts and teachers, classmates and fellow students, Marxists and Islamicists are there to people the Blue Aubergine’s bewildering journey to the knowledge that the maintenance of chastity and innocence and her naïve determination to cling to the threads of silk and lace that bind her to her past bring only misery and isolation.
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Miral al-Tahawy was born in 1968 in Sharqiya in the Egyptian Delta into a Bedouin family of the al-Hanadi tribe, the youngest of seven children. She earned her MA in Arabic language and literature from Cairo University in 1995. She has been described by the Washington Post as ‘the first novelist to present Egyptian Bedouin life beyond stereotypes and to illustrate the crises of Bedouin women and their urge to break free.’ Her first novel, The Tent, was widely acclaimed when it was first published in Arabic; it was published in English by the AUC Press in 2000. Anthony Calderbank, who lived in Egypt for many years, has had a long interest in Arabic language and literature. He is the translator of Miral al-Tahawy’s The Tent.

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“This is a challenging and intriguing novel and shows that al-Tahawy is set to be one of the freshest writers of her generation.”—Richard Woffenden, The Cairo Times<br><br>

“Miral al-Tahawy’s unique style and richly laden text makes Blue Aubergine absorbing novel taking Arabic women’s fiction in a new direction.”—Egypt’s Insight Magazine

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